A Question of Technique

25 Mar

To see this typecast in raw, unadulterated scan, direct from Skanlite, the KDE default scanning utility, see here.


5 Responses to “A Question of Technique”

  1. Mike Clemens March 25, 2011 at 9:37 pm #

    I’ll say… it varies. Sometimes, I want a clean typecast, so when the typos creep in on kitty-cat feet (or in hobnailed boots, as is usually the case) I bring the scan over into Gimp and clean it up. I use the extra space past the right margin to type the correction, and then grab that piece and slot it in before reducing the size. I use our office copier, which doubles as a greyscale scanner, and goes up to 600 dpi. It’s default setting is to scan as black and white text (OCR mode), though, which is nice: it often misses or minimizes paper flaws and ghost letters. I can only think of a few times when I’ve really wanted to correct the scan, though: when I’m using a script machine, and the strikeouts glare at me from the page, or when I was using a new-to-me international keyboard, and kept expecting the numerals to be where the weren’t (causing such hilarity as dating the text from the year 29ll: the typewriter has no zero key.)

    Generally, though, I let the flaws lie. I’d draw a comparison to seeing the brush strokes on a painting, but that might elevate my typecasts above their station. And in typewritten letters, there’s no real hope of fixing them up — correction tape leaves nasty dandruff in the machine’s works, and life is too short, frankly, to bother with White-Out (even the modern stuff that comes on a roll like tape.)

    Having pounded through a couple of NaNoWriMos on a typewriter now, though, I find myself not making quite as many mistakes as I used to, and in fact far fewer than I do on a keyboard, where the delete is just a little finger-reach away. (This previous sentence, for example: rife with typos that you never see.) Yes, sometimes I start a word with a different letter than the word I meant to type, but I can usually just run with it and slot a synonym in place. Lazy fingers or tired eyes will bring me closer to strike-out land than anything else, but on a typewriter, I don’t mind being there. Constant perfectionism is boring: there’s no art in an unbroken line. Or at least far less character.

    • Harry Cordner March 25, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

      Oh, I never thought of substituting in letters for typos like that, that’s a good idea. I usually just leave typos in, or do that horrible habit of mine, superimpose the right letter and hope it’s still sort-of intelligible as the correct one.

  2. peter March 26, 2011 at 8:31 am #

    I’ve always just scanned them in and sized them to fit the blog when posting. now I’m seeing in discussions that sometimes they are hard to read that way. But I don’t like being limited in width so I will probably continue that.

  3. T. Munk March 26, 2011 at 9:01 am #

    I generally scan mine in as greyscale 200 dpi, then crop and size to 72dpi, 800px wide (or lately 750px wide). The only other thing I do is increase the contrast a bit. Typos always get to stay, unless I totally mangle a whole line, in which case, I usually just re-type it on the next line and chop the offending one out in Photoshop.

    Then I fiddled with my blog template until it would expand to fit 800px wide posts. I guess readers with phones and iPads are outta luck, but it does work on netbooks and anything with a wider screen than that.

  4. Joe Van Cleave March 26, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    For scanning my typecasts, I adjust the Epson scanning histogram’s white and dark clipping points, and move the center point of the review histogram down to about 100, dark enough to reveal the paper’s texture and also to make visible any telltale marks from correction tape applications. I set the scan DPI to match my desired output resolution (typically 650 pixels wide, perfect for my Blogger template).

    I also scan with a metal straightedge along the edge of the scanner glass, which raises the pressure plate of the scanner just enough to permit the scanned image to reveal the paper’s curl and any wrinkles present.

    I’ve thought about inverting the tones (white on black), but generally keep it a straight scan, so that the viewer has the experience of gazing at an image of a typewritten sheet of paper.


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